MLB Injury Report: Lucas Giolito Has Partially Torn UCL, Verlander to the IL

Lucas Giolito has a partially torn UCL, Justin Verlander and Sonny Gray are expected to start the year on the IL. Here's an MLB injury report.

FT. MYERS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 25: Lucas Giolito #54 of the Boston Red Sox delivers during the first inning of a Spring Training Grapefruit League game against the Minnesota Twins on February 23, 2024 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

At the start of spring training, nearly every player shows up to camp healthy and optimistic about the season ahead. Making it to the end of camp healthy is where the challenge lies.

Injuries always happen this time of year, and with Opening Day fast-approaching, it becomes a harsh reality that guys who are banged up in camp might not be available for the start of the season.

Today, the biggest gut-punch news we learned came out of Red Sox camp, where it has been revealed that free agent acquisition Lucas Giolito has a partially torn UCL and flexor tendon strain. Giolito will miss at least the start of the season, and could need surgery to repair the tendon.

Across MLB there are various other injuries that could jeopardize the start of the season for some key pitchers and hitters. Let’s go through them all.

Ad – content continues below

Lucas Giolito May Need Tommy John Surgery

Fresh off signing a two-year, $38.5 million deal with the Boston Red Sox this offseason, Giolito is now staring down the barrel of a lost 2024 season.

The early report is that he has a partially torn UCL and flexor strain, but we know how this story typically ends. And it is with Tommy John surgery.

Giolito had an opt-out in his two-year deal that he almost certainly won’t exercise now, as he protected himself against the risk of injury by signing a multi-year deal. Still, for the Red Sox this could suddenly become a wasted investment, where their one big free agent signing may not throw a pitch for them until well into the 2025 season.

If Giolito can make it back this year with rest and rehab, there is always that risk that further injury could surface with a partially torn UCL, or that he won’t be as effective.

Meanwhile the Red Sox now have an even more glaring hole atop their rotation, which they could look to fill through free agency, or they simply could pivot and look at 2024 as a lost season.

Justin Verlander to Miss the Start of the Season

When Justin Verlander first showed up to camp, a shoulder injury set him back from beginning his throwing program on time.

Ad – content continues below

Verlander is back to throwing now, but according to manager Joe Espada, JV will not be ready to take the ball on Opening Day and is instead starting the season in the IL.

Unlike Giolito, the prognosis is much better on Verlander, as the expectation is that he will miss the start of the season, but will be back soon. According to Espada, this is more a matter of running out of time to get him ready for the season than it is an injury that is still lingering.

When he was with the New York Mets last season, Verlander started the year on the injured list as well, as he did not make his first start until May 4th. Despite the injury and being traded back to the Houston Astros midseason, Verlander still made 27 starts and pitched 162 1/3 innings in 2023.

Many will be watching Verlander’s innings count closely this year, as he has a $35 million club option for the 2025 season that vests once he hits 140 innings pitched. The Mets would be on the hook for half of that option, so the Astros are incentivized to work with Verlander to make sure he reaches it.

Sonny Gray Has a Hamstring Strain

Another pitcher who is supposed to suit up for a new team this year, Sonny Gray may miss the start of the season with a hamstring strain.

The St. Louis Cardinals are encouraged that the strain is not a more serious injury, but they are still not expecting their new ace to be ready for Opening Day, with an IL stint likely.

Ad – content continues below

Gray signed a three-year, $75 million deal with the Cardinals this offseason, coming off the heels of a great 2023 campaign with the Minnesota Twins.

The 34-year-old made his third All-Star appearance last year and finished runner-up to Gerrit Cole for the AL Cy Young. Gray pitched to a 2.79 ERA across 32 starts and 184 innings pitched. The Cardinals are counting on Gray to help lift a rotation that was one of the worst in baseball last year.

Other Injury News and Notes

Ronald Acuña Jr. is reportedly looking good to be available on Opening Day, after dealing with some knee discomfort. Acuña does have some irritation in the meniscus of his right knee, but is expected to gradually increase baseball activities to be ready in time for Opening Day.

Braxton Garrett is expected to start the season on the IL for the Miami Marlins, as he has been behind in camp due to a shoulder issue and likely can’t ramp up in time.

Cedric Mullins exited a spring training game yesterday with what was described as hamstring discomfort. The Orioles have not provided any further information on the injury.

Vaughn Grissom is another Boston Red Sox player who is dealing with some injury news, who likely won’t be available come Opening Day. On Saturday, manager Alex Cora told reporters that Grissom was dealing with a groin strain that could have him start the year on the IL.

Ad – content continues below